In 2007, there were signs throughout the city of Cortland that read, “Moratorium Now”. Residents were expressing their strong concerns about single family dwellings being purchased by landlords who would convert them into crowded rentals- some with flagrant disregard for city zoning laws. As a new homeowner, the issue resonated with me. When I asked a friend for more details about what could be done, I was encouraged to run for city council. During my two terms (four years) on council, we tackled this and other challenges- many that were unexpected. City government was a new endeavor for me, and as my experience grew, my appreciation for public service deepened as well.
When I was encouraged to run for mayor, I was hesitant about taking on the responsibility. I knew it would be a large commitment to do the job well. After thoughtful consideration I ran and won- not just once, but five times. I have given a tremendous amount of thought, effort, and time to the various challenges presented to our fair city. By working with other elected officials, community leaders, and city staff, we have been responsive, coordinated, and efficient. It is important to gain and build on the public’s trust, which these days is harder than ever.
Recently, I’ve reflected upon my life goals and my commitments. My biggest priority is my family- my wife (we met at an event I attended in my role as mayor), and two wonderful daughters, ages 12 and 4. In order for me to continue to maintain my priorities, I need to juggle less in my professional life. Now is the right time to announce that I will not seek re-election. It gives potential candidates enough time to evaluate their options, and take steps to be on the ballot this fall. I look forward to a smooth transition to someone who cares about all the residents of Cortland as deeply as I do.
I will miss working with various community leaders, and especially the exceptional people in city government – be they paid, volunteer, or elected, we have many dedicated public servants. The city is in good hands. In 2007, a thought that I could help work on one topic got me involved, and that simple step led to a great adventure. I encourage everyone to find a way to be engaged locally. The community belongs to us all; WE are Cortland.